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Catamount Football Holds First Practice of 2014 Preseason

Aug. 1, 2014

Catamount Football Preseason Practice No. 1 - Photo Gallery

Cullowhee, N.C. - Amidst unseasonably cool temperatures more likened to early fall than mid-summer, the Western Carolina Catamount football team held its opening practice of the 2014 preseason on Friday evening under mostly cloudy skies at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

The spirited, 12-period session spanned the better part of two hours and included individual position, unit and team drills as the squad worked out in just helmets as a part of the NCAA acclimation period. WCU's preseason schedule features 19 additional practice sessions prior to the start of fall classes on Monday, Aug. 18. All told, the Catamounts will have 29 practices before the season-opener against the USF Bulls in Tampa, Fla.

"It's great to get back out on the field," said third-year head coach Mark Speir. "I've been so proud of what these guys have done since January; they've really invested. Coach (Evan) Barr and his staff have done a phenomenal job in getting the guys prepared and it showed today."

He added, "The leadership that was displayed throughout the summer showed up today, and I'm excited about where we are. That's one down and we've got 28 more opportunities before we play South Florida - and it'll be here before we know it."

Nearly all of the 95 players assigned to report for preseason camp were active on Friday with just redshirt freshman DB Shane Samuels and true freshman offensive lineman Nathan Dalton held out.

Four quarterbacks rotated snaps offensively including junior Troy Mitchell, who has played in 22 games over the past two seasons at the QB position. Converted signal caller, senior Garrett Brown, was joined by freshmen Jackson McDonald (Flowery Branch HS) and Wes Holcombe (Rabun County HS).

All of WCU's preseason football practices are open to the public. It is respectfully requested that spectators observe from the stadium seating area and avoid being either on the field or the sidelines for safety.

Fans can also keep track of preseason activities through the Catamount Athletics social media outlets on Facebook ( and Twitter (@catamounts), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).

2014 Catamount Football - Opening Week of Fall Practice:
Sat., August 2: Practice #2 - 2:30 pm (helmets only)
Sun., August 3: Practice #3 - 2:00 pm (shells)
Mon., August 4: Practice #4 - 4:00 pm (shells)
Tues., August 5: Practice #5 - 10:00 am (full pads)
Wed., August 6: Practice #6 - 10:00 am (full pads); Practice #7 - 5:25 pm (shells)
Thurs., August 7: Practice #8 - 2:00 pm (full pads)
* Practice times are subject to change

Additional Opening Day Notes:
- Western Carolina junior offensive lineman Josh Wineberg was tabbed a preseason All-America selection by College Sports Madness ... the West Jefferson, N.C., product earned third team plaudits from the online publication ( ... Wineberg, who returns as one of the most experienced offensive linemen for the Catamounts with 22 career starts, was also named a first team All-SoCon selection by the league's head coaches;

- College Sports Madness additionally tabbed 13 Catamounts preseason All-Southern Conference on its ranking of the eight league schools ... Wineberg was joined on the first team offense by WR Karnorris Benson and Shaun Warren as a kickoff returner, while senior Ace Clark earned first team defensive plaudits ... the second team included RB Darius Ramsey, WR Terryon Robinson, LB Christon Gill, and DB Sertonuse Harris ... WCU had five players on the third team including QB Troy Mitchell, WR Willie Police, OL Jake Thornton, K Richard Sigmon and Garrett Brown as a punt returner.

Important Upcoming Dates to Remember:
Tues., August 5 - First scheduled football practice in full pads
Wed., August 6 - First scheduled two-a-day practice sessions
Sat., August 9 - Catamount football Intrasquad scrimmage (3:45 pm)
Sat., August 9 - Catamount Tailgate Kickoff (Catamount Club members)
Wed., August 13 - Catamount football intrasquad scrimmage (4:30 pm)
Wed., August 13 - Catamount women's soccer vs. Winthrop (exhibition) (6:00 pm)
Fri., August 15 - Catamount women's soccer vs. UNC Asheville (exhibition) (7:00 pm)
Sat., August 16 - Catamount football Intrasquad scrimmage (10:30 am)
Mon., August 18 - First day of fall classes at WCU
Fri., August 22 - Catamount women's soccer vs. Eastern Kentucky (2014 home opener), 7 pm
Sun., August 24 - Catamount women's soccer vs. East Carolina, 2:00 pm
Mon., August 25 - Catamount Football single-game tickets go on sale
Fri., August 29 - Catamount cross country hosts the Western Carolina Invitational, 6:30 pm
Sat., August 30 - 2014 Catamount Football season opener at USF in Tampa, Fla.
Fri., Sept. 5 - 10th Annual Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament; Maggie Valley Club, Maggie Valley, N.C.
Sat., Sept. 6 - 2014 Catamount Football home opener vs. Brevard in Cullowhee
Fri., Sept. 26 - The Upstate Classic golf tournament; The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville, S.C.